There are few things I enjoy more than exploring a new place or a new restaurant tucked away in a corner, unknown to most. And my latest discovery fits the bill exactly! I mean, how unknown can you possibly be if my brother-in-law, a Russian Linguistics alumnus from JNU had not even heard of it. But, as I usually do – I consulted 3 different books and 4 sites for a varied opinion (with Vir Sanghvi being my food god vouching for the place) and decided it was worth the trip to the other side of town.
If you are familiar with Delhi, you will know that it takes hell of a lot of motivation for one to travel from Noida to Anand Niketan (a tiny expat colony near RK Puram). Bravely we set out and were joined by friends who couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try out a cuisine as unique as Russian!! With the help of Google maps and 2-3 frantic calls to the place, we finally parked our car outside the deserted marketplace of Anand Niketan. It is the sort of place that convinces you that someone played a prank on you and there is no way there could be a restaurant inside the dingy building. Nevertheless, brave as we are, we stepped in and found in front of us a signage that announced that we had found the place.
We stepped into this tiny eatery and were immediately transported back to memories of our trip to Egypt. A small room greets you with 4 tables and 16 chairs in all. There is a TV in a corner that arrogantly plays on its Russian Sitcoms. The owner, a Russian himself takes the orders and cooks the meals. It is in clipped sentences that he answers you and hints that perhaps its best you don’t talk much and just eat quietly.
On asking about alcohol, he suggested that they offer Beer and Vodka. As neither were listed in the menu, we ordered 2 vodkas which promptly came in shot glasses and chilled, perhaps how it should be taken, but completely alien a concept to the Indian palate. My humble request for a sprite was met with contempt and a glass of his home-made punch (Kompot) was promptly served – which was not such a bad idea either.
The menu was short but interesting. We ordered a variety of dishes including 2 mutton dishes, beef stroganoff and a chicken Bline – which by the way is the name of the place in case I haven’t mentioned. Pronounced Blee-knee, it’s Russian for pancake and those are his specialty. As expected, the food was delightful. The piece de resistance was the Stroganoff. I make a great one (if I do say so myself) with chicken and mushrooms but this guy took the cake! The dish was perfectly flavored and left us wanting for more.
The prices were great as well. We ended up with a bill of Rs.300 per head and that included drinks so it was a steal. The next time you feel like trying something new, I suggest you give this place a visit….though I would love to keep it my little secret.